Claremore Daily Progress


September 6, 2012

Mike Stoops uses own brand of motivation to get to OU's Jefferson

NORMAN — The digs are constant on Oklahoma’s practice field. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has a needle and he uses it like an acupuncturist.

“He tries to push you and drive you. And he does,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “He can get under your skin sometimes.”

Jefferson fully understands the goading. He talked to some of OU’s defensive backs from 1999-2003 that played under Stoops during his first stint as defensive coordinator/secondary coach. Jefferson knew what was coming. OU’s junior free safety has become one of his main targets.

It’s not bullying by any means. Play for Mike Stoops long enough and you know those jabs are endearing and purposeful.

Jefferson has the ability to be the Sooners’ first All-American defensive back since Quinton Carter in 2009. Stoops is trying to push any button he can to squeeze that kind of production out of him. Last Saturday against UTEP, it helped produced a team-high 10 tackles and pass breakup.

Jefferson’s season got off to a fine start. He’ll try to build on it when the fifth-ranked Sooners (1-0) face Florida A&M (0-1) 6 p.m. Saturday at Owen Field.

How Jefferson goes, so goes the secondary. Moving him to that free spot after spending two seasons at nickelback was one of the gambles the Sooners took going into the season. There’s always a risk when a player changes positions. Will he adapt to the new position?

Jefferson isn’t alone. Only left cornerback Demontre Hurst started against UTEP in the same secondary spot he was playing a year ago. Javon Harris has shifted from free safety to strong safety. Aaron Colvin has moved from strong safety to right cornerback.

The result was holding the Miners to 48 passing yards.

“I think the coaches did a really good job of putting guys in the right position this year. We’ve got guys where they need to be and it shows,” Jefferson said. “They’re making plays.”

Text Only
  • DSC_0292web.jpg ‘All-State Sluggers’

    When Claremore’s Matt Whatley takes his place behind the plate tonight in the Oklahoma Coaches Association Large School East-West All-State baseball game, the former Zebra catcher will be right at home.
    Whatley, who started four years as the catcher for the Zebras, finds his final high school baseball game taking place in his future college ballpark.
    Last November, Whatley and his long-time friend, Bryce Howe, signed NCAA Division I baseball scholarships to play for the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles.
    Tonight, those dreams come true for Whatley and Jenks outfielder Cadon Owens, who will be joining his former Bearcats teammate on the East squad. Also, Verdigris' Ryan Skalnik will start at third base for the Large East All-State team.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA proposed settlement raises medical questions

    A key feature of a proposed settlement of a head-injury lawsuit against the NCAA is the creation of a $70 million fund to pay for medical evaluations of current and former college players in several sports. The provision raises some sticky medical questions.

    July 30, 2014

  • NFL: Cowboys QB Romo skips full-pad session

    The Dallas Cowboys are taking it easy with Tony Romo's back.

    Romo sat out a competitive practice for the first time at training camp Tuesday, although coach Jason Garrett said it wasn't because of any setbacks from surgery for a herniated disk in late December.

    July 30, 2014

  • OSU alum Barry Sanders helping to work with Heads Up Football

    Barry Sanders and Randy Gradishar have joined the growing list of former NFL players who want to promote USA Football's safety program, Heads Up Football.

    July 30, 2014

  • ESPN suspends Stephen Smith for comments on abuse

    ESPN has suspended outspoken sportscaster Stephen A. Smith for a week because of his comments about domestic abuse suggesting women should make sure that they don't do anything to provoke an attack.

    July 30, 2014

  • NFL: Ray Guy's long wait to HOF comes to an end

    Ray Guy built a Hall of Fame career of making other people wait.

    Those anxious seconds for punt returners awaiting his booming kicks were nothing compared to the more than two decades Guy had to endure before finally getting the call that he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    July 30, 2014

  • MLB: Cubs drop Rockies in 16 innings

    Both the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies ran out of relief pitchers in a marathon game. The Rockies then turned to a starter. The Cubs used a catcher - and won.

    John Baker scored the winning run in the bottom of the 16th inning after pitching a scoreless top half, and the Cubs overcame a three-run deficit to beat Colorado 4-3 on Tuesday night.

    July 30, 2014

  • NFL: Sam factor prepares Rams for sensitivity session

    To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp.

    Such guidance could be valuable for the St. Louis Rams, even if by all accounts they have welcomed Michael Sam into the fold.

    July 30, 2014

  • MLB: Vin Scully returns for 66th season as Dodgers announcer

    Vin Scully is staying in the booth for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    The 86-year-old Hall of Fame announcer will return for his record 66th season with the team in 2015. The announcement was made by in Korean, Spanish and English by players Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner on the Dodger Stadium video board in the second inning of Tuesday night's game against Atlanta.

    July 30, 2014